The 7 o’clock news

Now and again an echidna lumbers across the weedy stretch of rocky land that divides our block from that of the neighbours, exploring ant hill possibilities and poking its beak-like snout and long tongue into interesting little dirt hillocks hoping for a tasty worm or two. While I stay out of sight it seems oblivious to my quiet fascination and camera. But if I am foolish enough to approach, it curls itself into a tight ball protecting its vulnerable belly. Girl

Which is what I feel like doing when I watch the evening news. Like the echidna, when the news of the day approaches my comfort zone I want to curl up very tight and close my eyes and ears to all that is beyond my control – the suffering of people  caught up in policies that ignore basic Refugeeshuman rights, the greed for power and money that denudes land that has supported families for generations, politicians whose decisions are blindfolded to the reality of climate change, the legacy of pain that family violence leaves behind.

drought

It only takes a click of the remote and it all goes away. But it doesn’t! The evening news mightn’t touch my skin but it does touch my heart. Which is why sometimes, I re-read this Franciscan benediction.

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.

Together

Judith Scully (judith@judithscully.com.au)

 

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Seed planting

It’s spring, so I’m thinking about planting seedlings. Nothing very exotic – spreading petunias for the pots on the veranda, colour undecided, and something colourful in the two long planting boxes that will also discourage roving rabbits and possums from Seede plantingvisiting. Aside from a couple of seasonal re-plantings, that’s about all. Except maybe for fun, I’ll pot my hand-out Woollies seeds and watch them grow.

While the eucalypts in my little valley are a delight to the eye, the ground beneath my feet is rocky – literally – hence the pots. Spiritually speaking, it’s healthy to accept that the ground beneath one’s feet is the now, the place and time where we belong, where God is. But gardening-wise the ground beneath my feet doesn’t support growing anything much – except onion weed and a variety of imported weeds. So I combine these two concepts and tell myself that It’s OK if sometimes there’s not a lot of colour and growth in my life.

We plant seeds and they don’t always grow. I’ve always been a seed planter – you have to be if you are a teacher, or write spirituality, or are a parent. Parents do an awful lot of seed planting, all kinds of seeds. They implant Gospel values every time they insist that their children treat each other with respect. With the repetitive “Have you cleaned your teeth?” they instil hygiene practices that they hope will last a lifetime. Ecologically they encourage practices that plant seeds of hope for the world that their children will inherit.

It’s the seed parables that keep me going when my carefully chosen word-seeds float off into the space that is the internet, seeds that seemingly never finding ground, but occasionally do take root in fertile soil.
The sower went forth to sow.
and some seed fell on the wayside
Some fell amongst thistles
Some fell on stony soil
Some seed produced a fine harvest and some gradually withered in the hot sun.

It’s the Jesus’ seed stories that come to mind when I see hundreds of young people gathering for a climate change protest. Who planted these seeds – teachers, social media, parents? It doesn’t seem to have been politicians.  Climate change 2

Those teenagers with their creatively worded banners are planting seeds in people like me, challenging me in ways that I find uncomfortable because I have been so complacent for so long. They wouldn’t see what they did as having anything to do with religion, but I see it as the Spirit of God, breathing life seeds into a world that needs to hear them.

In the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero:
I plant seeds that one day will grow.
I water seeds already planted.
I lay foundations that will need development.
I provide the yeast that produces effects far beyond my capabilities.
I am a prophet of a future not my own.

And as Jesus said, “And the sower went on sowing.“

Judith Scully

Read more about spring :  Spring mindfulness – Australian style